Residents from Oileán Thoraí have today made their way to Dublin to protest outside Dáil Éireann in a stand against the ‘new’ boat that will provide a ferry service to and from the island.
Located 15 kilometres off the coast of West Donegal, locals fear that the ‘new’ ferry, The Queen of Aran – which is 42 years old – is not fit for purpose and will struggle to make the crossing, which is often choppy. Islanders say that they will not welcome the boat and it will not be permitted on the island.
Instead, locals are campaigning for a purpose-built boat that can adequately connect Tory Island with the mainland.
Owner of The Queen of Aran, Arranmore man Seamus Boyle, says that the boat will undergo extensive refurbishment before it is due to make its first crossing on Easter Sunday.
Speaking to RTÉ last week, King of Tory Patsy Dan Rodgers called on Minister Joe McHugh to “stand up” for the islanders.
“My heart is broken on behalf of the Tory Island community,” he told Eileen Magnier.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 9, 2018
“We are again begging and pleading with [Minister McHugh] to stand up and give us good news once and for all within the next week or so. If not, we are going to take this further.”
True to his word, the King of Tory is leading the protest this afternoon in Dublin.
Speaking outside Dáil Éireann today, Donegal TD Pearse Doherty says that the government should buy out the contract, which will cost €400,000.
“Nobody on the streets of Kildare would put up with buses of 42 years of age. Nobody would travel on the Luas into Dublin if the Luas was 42 years of age,” Doherty said.
Families are now considering leaving their homes on their island, which has a population of 120 people, to move to the mainland.